Republic Records Group president and The Four judge Charlie Walk has been placed on leave following several allegations of sexual misconduct made against him by former employees this week.
On Monday, Tristan Coopersmith, founder of the Southern California wellness studio Life Lab, published an open letter to Walk on her company’s website accusing Walk of making “lewd comments” about her body and sharing his sexual fantasies with her. In it, she also said he groped her by placing his hand on her upper thigh during dinners and even once drunkenly pushed her into his bedroom and onto his bed during an event being held at his home.
Coopersmith did not specify when the alleged incidents occurred, but it appears likely they happened while Walk was president of Sony Music’s Epic Records — a position he held from 2005–2009. Sony Music declined to comment. On Tuesday, two more women spoke up anonymously with letters published in Bob Lefsetz’s Lefsetz Letter music industry email newsletter also claiming sexual harassment.
“Republic Records is committed to a safe workplace environment where employees are treated fairly and respectfully,” the company said in a statement. “We have retained an outside law firm to conduct an independent investigation of this matter and have encouraged anyone who has relevant information to speak to the firm’s investigators. Mr. Walk has been placed on leave, and will remain in leave for the duration of the investigation.”
The law firm is Collazo Florentino & Keil LLP.
In response to Coopersmith’s letter, Walk issued a statement saying the allegations were “untrue” and “upsetting.”
“It is very upsetting to learn of this untrue allegation made by someone who worked with me 15 years ago, without incident,” he said. “There has never been a single HR claim against me at any time during my 25+ year career, spanning three major companies. I have consistently been a supporter of the women’s movement and this is the first time I have ever heard of this or any other allegation — and it is false.”
Walk joined Republic Records in 2013 and was named president of the Republic Group in 2016.
Fox, the broadcaster of The Four, is currently investigating Walk’s alleged misconduct, according to The Hollywood Reporter. “We have only recently learned of these past allegations regarding Mr. Walk,” the company wrote in a statement on Monday. “We are currently reviewing this matter and are committed to fostering a safe environment on all of our shows.”
The claims come in the midst of a wave of women and men speaking out about sexual misconduct in the entertainment industry and the rise of the #MeToo and #TimesUp movements. Specifically in music, Russell Simmons is the most high-profile exec to be outted for alleged predatory behavior, including several instances of rape. Some of those allegations are currently under investigation by the NYPD and he being is sued for $5 million over another woman’s account.